It was a trip back in the 'way back machine' last night, as Van halen performed in front of a sold out crowd. As I walked to the Garden, past the sea of limos, spandex, and vintage VH tour shirts, I couldn't help but smell the beer and weed wafting from every alleyway around. The crowd had been waiting years, if not decades, to see this reunion. I should tell you up front, that I was designated driver, and therefor have a somewhat different perspective on the show than my esteemed collegues, LB and Mike Hsu. :)
I took this picture before the show started, so that "My Guys" in Afghanistan would know that I was thinking of them. They'll be home soon, but it's been a long time since they've been able to go to the Garden and have a few beers with their friends.
Instead of giving you the "blow by blow" of the entire show, I'll break it down like this.
- Sat next to a guy with the worst hairpiece that I have ever seen, He played air guitar during the drum solo, and air drums during the guitar solo.
- I've never seen longer beer lines at the Garden
- I had great seats, and the HUGE LED screen gave everybody a view of the band
- I wish that they had put more video clips, vintage pictures and eye candy on the giant screen, because the band doesn't move around very much and the GIANT screen just made me notice that even more.
- I was worried about the harmonies not being right, but the reality was DLR was struggling to keep up with his own vocals, and the harmonies were spot on. Still not sure how much was real and how much was computer help.
-Wolfgang can sing, play, and is having a blast on stage with his Dad and Uncle. But, he never went near DLR and looked unconfortable when DLR tried. They never ever high fived, meanwhile the rest of the band did. DLR never even introduced him. Very weird.
- Michael Anthony was missed on stage. His personality, vocals, and bass solo/JD chugging werw all part of the bands past, and I wished all night that he were up there.
- The band needs a better stylist. DLR was wearing every crazy jacket in his closet, and the tighest spandex/snakeskin pants that I have ever seen. Eddie looked like he was heading to the mall to shop after the show, and Wolfgang looked like he climbed out from under the hood of a car 5 minutes before. I never really noticed what Alex was wearing, but they could all use a little help.
- The setlist was great with all of the standards keeping the crowd happy and a few new songs and curveballs thrown in made it the perfect balance. The crowd sang along to almost every song. They were more quiet for the newer stuff, which was to be expected.
- The banted on stage between songs was lighthearted, and funny, with a sprinkle of creepy drunk uncle mixed in.
-I wish that DLR had some production props to make it possible to move around the HUGE stage and still be able to sing. Maybe those "Jetsons" walkways, so he could zip around and play on them without gasping for breath. A ramp out into the crowd, or a harness to fly over everyone. I know that the band is older, but there were a few points that I felt "bored".
- Eddie and his guitar put on a clinic for anyone who has every picked up a guitar... THAT is how it's done...
- I thought the finale was great. The band took a bow, and just went right into the encore. No making the crowd chant for 10 minutes so that they could have a drink and a smoke backstage. That's when the confetti cannons went off, and made a HUGE mess in the Garden. It was cool!
All in all, the show was good. The trip down memory lane was fun, and for some people around me proved to be too much. There was puking, passing out, lost wallets, and making out with strangers. All of the things that every good Rock show should have. I just feel bad for every person that never had a chance to see the band in their prime. Maybe I would have liked it more if I were doing tequilla shots with LB and Hsu. If you want the drunk perspective, CLICK HERE
, and read Mike Hsu's version of the show.